thrice great hermes
by stanley lieber
THE USEFULNESS OF DREAD
Just kidding. Werner knew the jokes would keep coming. At home they had made sure he would expect it wherever he went. People were going to laugh at his visor. He didn’t care—the technology was real.
Pete had looked through its lens, feigning involuntary sounds of amazement, but he couldn’t say that he’d seen anything. It was just a strip of translucent plastic. The magnetic clasp was nice, he supposed. No need for latches that might break. He just didn’t understand the joke. "Ha ha," Pete said.
But the visor was real. Werner scrolled through his feed and found the article he wanted to share. He nudged it along with a facial gesture. Pete just stood there, looking like he wanted a cigarette. Hadn’t he gotten the message? Maybe his connection was down.
They got on the bus. The trip across town would give Werner ample opportunity to explain, again. "We’ll split the profits 70/30," he began. Pete nodded. "I can provide a complete accounting, if you’re interested." Pete said that he was. "Here." Werner handed over his visor, indicating some greater of detail could be gleaned by strapping it onto Pete’s head.
Pete Demurred. "I believe you." Werner’s smile sagged, but only temporarily. "I’ll just send you each page as it’s completed, and we can go from there."
"Sounds like a plan," said Pete.
Werner would write the pages, longhand, illuminating the various passages in ink and whatever other materials he judged would facilitate the effect he was going for. Pete would come in behind him and add his color to the text, underlining, emphasizing, organizing connections between apparently disparate clusters of words with textures and hues that rendered their derivations explicit. Pete was good at what he did, and Werner felt that it might have been necessary, with any other colorist, to provide detailed explanations of each paragraph of his text, but with Pete the colors always seemed to come out right. For fear of saying too much, he usually just left him alone to undertake his work. Werner was hardly a micromanager.
The bus arrived at its next-to-last stop and the two men disembarked. Werner flickered out and Pete continued down the street to his apartment.